Bigger Better Bolder: Write A Product Review

This is the next post in a very exciting series we’re bringing to you on IFB in anticipation of the upcoming #IFBcon. Each day in the month of August, we’ll have a different post designed to help your blog become – you guessed it – bigger, better and bolder.

Trust is one of the most important components in a blogger-to-reader relationship. As authors, we need to build that trust with honest writing, and as style and fashion bloggers that type of honesty often comes with a personal side. We share pieces of ourselves, our lives, our bodies and our tastes in our posts. Ideally, followers and readers come to our sites not only because they value our opinion, but because they believe it, too.

When you're first getting started as a blogger, establishing this trust from the beginning is critical. It's also a perfect time, because you're fresh, un-jaded (hopefully none of us are too jaded yet) and eager to share. Whether you're a seasoned blogger or just a few days in, a product review (of a non-gifted item) is a smart way to invite your readers to trust you.

Why a non-gifted item? Well, sure, you can honestly review a gifted item – and many bloggers do. However, giving your thoughts, either positive or negative, on an item or product you purchased yourself goes just a bit further in building credibility with your audience.

Why review?

Think about the way we online shop these days. We find an item we like, check out the images and description then scroll straight down to read the reviews. We want the opinions of others, we want to know about someone else's experience before making our purchasing decision. As a blogger you have the power to be a voice of influence to consumers. With this platform as well as social media, you have the ability to amplify your review far beyond a retailer's site.

When the item is gifted…

Receiving gifted items will become a natural part of blog growth for some. When this happens, it makes sense to do reviews and there's no reason that you should lose the trust of your readers because an item was sent to you. (It's helpful to have a disclosure clause somewhere on your blog when you are including gifted items in your content.)

For Eat, Sleep, Denim, I review gifted, purchased-and-returned denim (from the site's sponsor, Shopbop.com) as well as denim I've purchased personally. By giving honest and detailed information about each pair (as well as where they come from), I've been able to maintain credibility with ESD's readers. I have not loved every pair of jeans or every denim item I've worn on the site, and I'm clear about my real opinions in each post.

Here are some quick tips and points to touch on when reviewing something on your blog:

  • Include at least one image, either from the retailer, or better yet, on your body!
  • If it's a clothing item, include the size you purchased, and how it compares to other items from that brand or in that size.
  • Talk about the fit in as much descriptive detail as you can (and perhaps include fabric make-up (cotton, Lycra, silk, etc)).
  • If it's a beauty or hair item, provide important or interesting ingredient information (all-natural, organic, hypo-allergenic, etc).
  • Maintain your personality in your review – use storytelling or anecdotes.
  • Include pricing details and link out to where readers can purchase the item (perhaps using your affiliate links!).

 

Do you incorporate reviews into your blog content? How do your readers respond? Share your experience and best tips in the comments.

 

[Image Credit: Shutterstock]

 

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11 Responses

  1. Miss Bad

    I really liked this post ! Beauty reviews is one of the key factors for my blog : )
    I think it’s very important to post if the item was purchased or gifted: people are not dumb and usually can relate if all the bloggers tend to speak of the same thing suddenly. I personally don’t like to declare it like upfront, like publicity post, but I usually end up describing how the item got to me : )

    http://www.thediariesofmissbad.pt/

    Reply
  2. Ruins Barry

    what a great idea. i’m a blogging newbie but i’m an excellent shopper. i think this is something i will start incorporating in my blog. GREAT ADVICE!!!

    Reply
  3. Leanne

    I’ve mainly reviewed Korean Circle lenses on my blog, but when it comes to good reviews fashion-wise, I think often it is the savviness of the language that defines a good review.

    That is, when I read a review, I want to know that I can have confidence in the experience, knowledge and maybe even taste level of the reviewer, which is often based on their writing skill. Someone like Susie Bubble, say, can speak about a product with real authority (even if we didn’t know it was her writing it). There’s a certain gravitas in the way she uses her fashion lexicon. She can convey her breadth of knowledge, as well as using very creative and fresh metaphors, which make her writing so engaging. It’s a real art.

    Reply
  4. RevPlace

    Another tip for anyone writing reviews is to include at least one bad thing about the product. Even if you loved it, there has to be something negative to say, even minor things. Research has shown that people are more likely to trust product reviews that include a negative point. It makes sense when you think about it. If a review is all positive and has a lot of exclamation points, it raises a red flag for many readers.

    Reply
  5. Diana

    I’ve received products from over 30 shops and I post product reviews here:
    http://dianacqin.tumblr.com

    My followers responded positively to them but I try to not inundate them with product reviews constantly so I limit myself to maximum of 3 reviews a week.

    Reply
  6. Simone

    I have a problem with the word “gift” in reference to samples used to write reviews. They’re NOT gifts – they’re work. A gift comes with no strings, like when I write a review of something that the company loves and they send me flowers, a designer scarf or a bottle of wine to thank me. Now THAT’s a gift!

    I’m a beauty and fashion writer and trust me, when I come home to bags of product samples I don’t smile and say, “Aw, how nice, look at all these gifts”. Instead, I go to work logging them in, reading the press materials and then testing, making notes and then figuring out how I’ll find placements for the ones I like. Then I spend a long time writing, editing and re-editing.
    (if I don’t love it, it doesn’t get written up)

    If anyone is getting a “gift”, it’s me giving one to the vendor! Their gift is all the work I put into writing up their product, at no cost other than the sample, that will be seen by my many readers. Imagine, for the price of jar of cream, I’m giving them for free what would cost thousands if it were an ad.
    So who’s gifting whom?

    Yes, I love my work, but I never make the mistake of calling samples gifts. And if you want to be taken seriously by the companies you work with, you won’t either. Trust me, the editors at the big glossy magazines – Vogue, Cosmo, Marie Claire, Allure, etc – don’t view their samples as “gifts”.
    You want to be treated like a real editor? Act like one!

    Stop refering to the samples given to you as gifts, they’re not. They’re samples given to you with a hope and expectation that you’ll like them enough to write a reivew.

    Reply
  7. Zolie Z.

    I’ve never written reviews before but should start writing them soon since I buy so many clothes and accessories! The only thing stopping me is perhaps getting someone to take pretty pictures of my looks. I’m quite picky when it comes to the pictures I post publicly.

    Reply